Jaap van Zweden

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Jaap van Zweden
Violist Jaap van Zweden aan het spelen, Bestanddeelnr 931-2773.jpg
Jaap van Zweden, Amsterdam 1981
Background information
Born12 December 1960 (1960-12-12) (age 58)
Amsterdam, North Holland
Occupation(s) Conductor,
Website www.jaapvanzweden.com

Jaap van Zweden (Dutch pronunciation: [ja:p fan zwe:dən]; English: /jɑːpvænzwdən/ ) (born 12 December 1960) is a Dutch conductor and violinist. He is currently music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and of the New York Philharmonic.

Violin bowed string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths

The violin, sometimes known as a fiddle, is a wooden string instrument in the violin family. Most violins have a hollow wooden body. It is the smallest and highest-pitched instrument in the family in regular use. Smaller violin-type instruments exist, including the violino piccolo and the kit violin, but these are virtually unused. The violin typically has four strings tuned in perfect fifths, and is most commonly played by drawing a bow across its strings, though it can also be played by plucking the strings with the fingers (pizzicato) and by striking the strings with the wooden side of the bow.



Van Zweden was born in Amsterdam, North Holland. His father, a pianist, encouraged him to begin violin studies at age five, and he studied music in Amsterdam. At age 15, he won the Oskar Back violin competition ; this allowed him to attend the Juilliard School in the United States, where he studied with Dorothy DeLay. [1]

Amsterdam Capital city of the Netherlands and municipality

Amsterdam is the capital city and most populous municipality of the Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government, which is The Hague. Amsterdam has a population of 854,047 within the city proper, 1,357,675 in the urban area and 2,410,960 in the metropolitan area. The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country but is not its capital, which is Haarlem. The Amsterdam metropolitan area comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, which has a population of approximately 8.1 million.

North Holland Province of the Netherlands

North Holland is a province of the Netherlands located in the northwestern part of the country. It is situated on the North Sea, north of South Holland and Utrecht, and west of Friesland and Flevoland. In 2015, it had a population of 2,762,163 and a total area of 2,670 km2 (1,030 sq mi).

Oskar Back was a noted Austrian-born Dutch classical violinist and pedagogue. He taught at the Amsterdam Conservatory for 42 years, and also had a significant earlier teaching career in Belgium.


In 1979, at age 18, van Zweden became one of the two concertmasters of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. He was the youngest violinist ever to assume that position, which he held until 1995. He performed as a soloist with many other orchestras as well.

Concertmaster profession

The concertmaster in the U.S. and Canada is the leader of the first violin section in an orchestra and the instrument-playing leader of the orchestra. After the conductor, the concertmaster is the second-most significant leader in an orchestra, symphonic band or other musical ensemble. Another common term in the U.S. is "First Chair." In the U.K., Australia and elsewhere in the English-speaking world, the term commonly used is "leader."

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra symphony orchestra of the Netherlands, based in Amsterdam

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is a symphony orchestra in the Netherlands, based at the Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw. In 1988, Queen Beatrix conferred the "Royal" title upon the orchestra. It is considered one of the world's leading orchestras.

Van Zweden began to work as a conductor after Leonard Bernstein invited him to lead an orchestra rehearsal in Berlin. He has stated that he learned much about conducting from observing the various conductors who led concerts of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. He conducted smaller ensembles initially, and became a full-time conductor in 1997. [2] His first Dutch conducting post was as chief conductor with the Orkest van het Oosten (Orchestra of the East, or the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra) in Enschede, the Netherlands. He served in this post from 1996 through 2000. Van Zweden was chief conductor of the Residentie Orchestra in The Hague from 2000 until 2005, and he recorded the complete symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven with them. In 2005 he became chief conductor and artistic leader of the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest (RFO; Netherlands Radio Philharmonic) in Hilversum. In February 2007 he extended his RFO contract through 2013. [3] In August 2010, the orchestra announced that van Zweden would step down from the RFO chief conductorship in 2012 and take the position of honorary guest conductor. [4] Van Zweden served as chief conductor of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra from 2008 to 2011. [5] [6]

Leonard Bernstein American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist

Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the US to receive worldwide acclaim. According to music critic Donal Henahan, he was "one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history."

Berlin Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.

Enschede City and Municipality in Overijssel, Netherlands

Enschede, also known as Eanske in the local dialect of Twents, is a municipality and a city in the eastern Netherlands in the province of Overijssel and in the Twente region. The municipality of Enschede consisted of the city of Enschede until 1935, when the rural municipality of Lonneker, which surrounded the city, was annexed after the rapid industrial expansion of Enschede which began in the 1860s and involved the building of railways and the digging of the Twentekanaal.

Outside Europe, van Zweden made his U.S. conducting debut with the St. Louis Symphony in 1996. His second US guest-conducting appearance was with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in February 2006, a concert that was highly acclaimed. [7] Based on this engagement the Dallas Symphony named Van Zweden their next Music Director after Andrew Litton, effective with the 2008/09 season. [2] His initial contract was for four years, where in the first year he was scheduled to conduct 12 weeks of subscription concerts and then for 15 weeks in the subsequent three years. For the 2007/08 season, he held the title of Music Director Designate. In October 2009, the Dallas Symphony announced the extension of his contract through the 2015/16 season. [8] In November 2013, the orchestra announced a further extension of his contract through 2019. [9]

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is an American symphony orchestra based in St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1880 by Joseph Otten as the St. Louis Choral Society, the St. Louis Symphony is the second-oldest professional symphony orchestra in the United States, preceded only by the New York Philharmonic. Its principal concert venue is Powell Hall.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra orchestra

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) is an American orchestra based in Dallas, Texas. Its principal performing venue is the Meyerson Symphony Center in the Arts District of downtown Dallas.

Andrew Litton is an American orchestral conductor. Litton is a graduate of The Fieldston School, and holds both undergraduate and masters degrees in music from Juilliard. His early teachers included John DeMaio. Litton was a participant in the Affiliate Artists Exxon-Arts Endowment Conductors Program. In 2003, he was awarded Yale University's Sanford Medal.

In January 2012, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra announced the appointment of Van Zweden as its next Music Director, with an initial contract of four years, starting 1 August 2012. [10] He made his debut as the Music Director of the orchestra on 28 September 2012. [11] In June 2016, Van Zweden extended his contract with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra through the 2021/2022 season. [12]

Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra orchestra

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, commonly abbreviated as HKPO or HKPhil, is the largest symphony orchestra in Hong Kong. First established in 1947 as an amateur orchestra under the name Sino-British Orchestra (中英管弦樂團), it was renamed the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in 1957 and became a professional orchestra in 1974 under the funding of the government.

Van Zweden first guest-conducted the New York Philharmonic in April 2012. [13] He returned for subsequent engagements in November 2014 and October 2015. [14] [15] In January 2016, the New York Philharmonic announced the appointment of van Zweden as its next music director, effective with the 2018/19 season, with an initial contract of five years. Van Zweden is scheduled to serve as music director designate for the 2017/18 season. [16] In parallel with this appointment, in January 2016, the Dallas Symphony announced the scheduled conclusion of van Zweden's Dallas Symphony music directorship at the end of the end of the 2017/18 season, one season earlier than his most recent Dallas contract. With the 2018/19 season, van Zweden took the title of conductor laureate of the Dallas Symphony, for the period from 2018 until 2021. [17]

Personal life

Van Zweden's name is Dutch for from Sweden. Since 1983, he has been married to the artist Aaltje van Zweden–van Buuren. They have a daughter, Anna-Sophia, and three sons, Daniel, Benjamin and Alexander. The van Zwedens have a particular interest in autism as their son Benjamin is autistic. [2] In 2000 they set up the Papageno Foundation to provide autistic children with music therapy. [18] [19]

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  1. Tim Madigan, "Conductor Jaap van Zweden's performance applauded from every corner". Dallas Star-Telegram, 28 September 2008.
  2. 1 2 3 Scott Cantrell, "New director for DSO". Dallas Morning News, 1 February 2007.
  3. Vivien Schweitzer (1 February 2007). "Dallas Symphony Names Jaap van Zweden Music Director". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 2007-08-29.
  4. "Markus Stenz chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra" (Press release). Radio Filharmonisch Orkest. 17 August 2010. Archived from the original on 19 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
  5. "Jaap van Zweden chef-dirigent in Vlaanderen". Trouw. 2006-06-30. Retrieved 2009-03-16.
  6. "Edo de Waart: Chef-dirigent vanaf 2012-2013" (Press release). deFilharmonie. April 2010. Archived from the original on 2012-07-24. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
  7. Scott Cantrell, "Guest conductor Van Zweden makes quite a showing". Dallas Morning News, 17 February 2006.
  8. "The Dallas Symphony Announces Contract Extension For Music Director Jaap van Zweden" (Press release). Dallas Symphony. October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
  9. Scott Cantrell (2013-11-24). "Dallas Symphony, Van Zweden extend contract through 2019". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2013-11-28.
  10. "HKPO Welcomes New Music Director Maestro Jaap van Zweden Takes the Helm from Season 2012/13" (Press release). HKPO. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  11. "Hong Kong Philharmonic's New Music Director Jaap van Zweden Leads the Orchestra and Violinist Ning Feng in His Inaugural Concert" (Press release). HK Phil. 28 September 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-11.
  12. Cooper, Michael (June 9, 2016). "Jaap van Zweden Extends His Other Gig, 8,000 Miles from David Geffen Hall". New York Times. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  13. Anthony Tommasini (2012-04-13). "Star Pianist Establishes the Tempo of the Night". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  14. Anthony Tommasini (2014-11-27). "Beethoven, 'Cyrano' and Samplings From Film Scores". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  15. Zachary Woolfe (2015-10-30). "Review: Jaap van Zweden, Precise at the New York Philharmonic". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  16. Michael Cooper (2016-01-27). "New York Philharmonic Taps Jaap van Zweden as Its Next Maestro". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  17. "The Dallas Symphony Orchestra congratulates Jaap van Zweden on the announcement of his appointment as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic" (Press release). Dallas Symphony Orchestra. 2016-01-27. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  18. Laura Korenman (2 April 2007). "Conduct Energy. Conduct Heat". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 2007-08-29.
  19. Scott Cantrell, "Dallas Symphony's new director offers views on Dallas, plans for orchestra". Dallas Morning News, 8 September 2008.
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Yevgeny Svetlanov
Chief Conductor, Residentie Orchestra
Succeeded by
Neeme Järvi
Preceded by
Edo de Waart
Chief Conductor, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Succeeded by
Markus Stenz
Preceded by
Andrew Litton
Music Director, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Fabio Luisi (designate)
Preceded by
Daniele Callegari
Chief Conductor, DeFilharmonie
Succeeded by
Edo de Waart
Preceded by
Edo de Waart
Music Director, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Succeeded by